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Human Rights and the WTO – The Case of Patents and Access to Medicines - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Human Rights and the WTO: The Case of Patents and Access to Medicines

Holger Hestermeyer


This study examines the alleged conflict of WTO law with international human rights law, using a prominent example of such a conflict: that between international patent law, i.e., the TRIPS Agreement, and access to medicine as guaranteed, e.g., by the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The highly controversial political issue of the appropriate application of international patent law to life-saving medicines gained the world's attention during the discussion about the price of AIDS medication, but recent examples also include patents on medicines for bird flu and f ... More

Keywords: WTO law, international human rights law, international patent law, access to medicine, ICESCR, fragmentation of international law, hierarchy, TRIPS Agreement

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780199552177
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552177.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Holger Hestermeyer, author
Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany